Flood 2014: Child Protection Risk and Future concern

The recent flood and river erosion are not only causing untold sufferings for over two million people of 19 districts but also hampering children’s “life as usual “ Usual educational activities in the affected areas are collapsed or in the verge of collapsed .
Most of the children are out of their childhood activities. In most of the affected places children are not been able to go to school more than six weeks (July 22 to till now). Families of these students are yet to come to terms with the loss caused by the flood and river erosion. Moreover, families displaced by the flood are moving to safer areas. Some reports indicate that …”Child protection and education has become a secondary concern as the flood victims are grappling with problems of food and shelter. …” Contrary to that our field visits confirm the desperate move of both parents and teachers to restart the schools at any cost. They are trying to dry up their wet and damaged school books and writing materials in the sun. Where possible makeshift schools have been started with whatever they have. Apparently affected community and the children are very much clear about their priority while the approach of relief and rebuilding still following the traditional way of focus on “ Chal –Dal ( rice-lintils) “ distribution. According to the Govt. report-thousands of students of the affected areas have lost their books, school uniforms and other essential educational items. Report confirms that about 972 schools are fully or partially damaged by flood and river erosion (Sources: DMIC). Among them the most vulnerable are those whose schools are eroded in the river and the villagers are on move. With our limited resources Disaster Forum’s
made a quick but focused snapshot survey in five districts where member organizations are working, the survey indicated that about 27 schools have been eroded in five northern districts (Kurigram, Gaibandha, Rangpur, Sirajganj and Tangail). Classes and examinations of those schools remained withheld. The situation will surely affect the examinees of the Primary School Certificate (PSC) and Junior School Certificate (JSC) levels as well as annual examinations.

Report compiled by: Bithi Roy, Sumaya Noor and Meherun Jhumur of Foundation for Disaster Forum Sept.11-2014

The PSC and JSC examinations are hardly two and a half months away. We are expressing our deep concerned for these students where other students who will appear in annual examination may be ignored. We cannot overlook such apprehension that the students of those schools might have the easy victim of school dropout, migration for child labour, child marriage, trafficking and all possible exploitation. Beside this, there are different categories of Madrashas students where most marginalized are going – many of them are the children of “absentee” mothers (mothers working in the cities). In this situation those students are not taking into account. As a result, they might be at risk of abuse or early marriage.

Now it’s time to need attention about the possible vulnerabilities of future victims (Children those who cannot attend school). Taking action now will greatly reduce the immediate threats. Need to do:
To overcome the situation following steps are recommended;
• Relief should be focused on the children’s immediate need and strategic need so that
they can start their life as usual
• Arrangement of makeshift schools or Child friendly spaces to keep the child-hood
activities going.
• Ensure the access to school by cleaning and repairing the schools
• Take necessary steps to supply additional books from warehouse where stocks are
available; • Need referral or additional classes for the students of their upcoming exams.
• Rescheduling/ minimize the Eid –Puja Holidays.

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